July 11, 2024

Open Court

MORE TENNIS THAN YOU'LL EVER NEED

Olympic women's tennis cheerleader Radek Stepanek in Rio.

You know there were a lot of goings-on behind the scene in some countries.

But today, the International Tennis Federation revealed its final entry list for the upcoming Olympic event at Roland Garros.

The rules and eligibility requirements (and Olympic gift spots) are byzantine. So the result is that there are a lot of big names missing. Which is the case, it feels like, every time the Olympics roll around.

Here are the rosters (subject to change for injury or other reasons), with a few notes.

The Olympic event takes place from July 27 – Aug. 4.

Women’s singles

–The four ITF wild cards (with which they attempt to spread out the draw to countries that might have less representation – not that this always makes sense to the untrained eye) are: Maria Lourdes Carle (ARG), Laura Pigossi (BRA), Caroline Wozniacki (DEN) and Mayar Sherif (EGY). Other than Wozniacki, no other former Grand Slam champion or Olympic medalist either applied, or was accepted.

–The “Universality place” goes to Danka Kovinic of Montenegro, who hasn’t played since … the 2003 US Open.

– Five countries have the maximum four allowed entries: Czechia, France, Germany, Ukraine and the U.S.

– A number of players are in on protected rankings: Ajla Tomljanovic, Bianca Andreescu, Angelique Kerber, Naomi Osaka.

–Some of the current rankings of competing players: Camila Osorio (No. 84), Petra Martic (No. 85), Marie Lourdes Carle (No. 87), Kovinic (No. 606).

– Players who would qualify, but aren’t going or weren’t nominated: Aryna Sabalenka (BLR), Ons Jabeur (TUN), Madison Keys (USA), Daria Kasatkina (RUS), Liudmila Samsonova (RUS), Victoria Azarenka (BLR), Anna Kalinskaya (RUS), Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova, Sorana Cirstea (ROU), Elise Mertens (BEL), Veronika Kudermetova (RUS), Anastasia Potapova (RUS), Anna Blinkova (RUS), Paula Badosa (ESP).

– Players left out by the country quotas: Katerina Siniakova (CZE), Marie Bouzkova (CZE), Sofia Kenin (USA), Sloane Stephens (USA), Zhu Lin (CHN), Caroline Dolehide (USA), Lesia Tsurenko (UKR), Peyton Stearns (USA), Ashlyn Krueger (USA), Yafan Wang (CHN)

Men’s singles

–The ITF wild cards: Thiago Monteiro (BRA). Tomas Barrios Vera (CHI), Andy Murray (GBR), Stan Wawrinka (ITF), Moez Echargui (TUN)

–The “Universality place”: Benjamin Hassan, a German who plays for Lebanon.

– Seven countries have the maximum four allowed entries: Argentina, France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, Spain and the U.S.

– A number of players are in on protected rankings: Milos Raonic (CAN), Kei Nishikori (JPN), Kwon Soonwoo (KOR), Rafael Nadal (ESP).

–Some of the current rankings of competing players: Moez Echargui (No. 380), Sumit Nagal (No. 73), Tomas Barrios Vera (No. 196), Thiago Monteiro (No. 86), Benjamin Hassan (No. 154).

– Players who would qualify, but aren’t going or weren’t nominated: Andrey Rublev (RUS), Grigor Dimitrov (BUL), Ben Shelton (USA), Sebastian Korda (USA), Karen Khachanov (RUS), Adrian Mannarino (FRA), Jiri Lehecka (CZE), Frances Tiafoe (USA), [PR] Denis Shapovalov (CAN), Jordan Thompson (AUS), Laslo Djere (SRB), Miomir Kecmanovic (SRB), Emil Ruusuvuori (FIN), Christopher O’Connell (AUS).

– Players left out by the country quotas: Pedro Martinez (ESP), Flavio Cobolli (ITA), Lorenzo Sonego (ITA), Jaume Munar (ESP), Alex Michelsen (USA), Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP), Facundo Diaz Acosta (ARG), Giovanni Mpetschi Perricard (FRA), Arthur Rinderknech (FRA), Federico Coria (ARG), Brandon Nakashima

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Women’s doubles

The only Canadian entry will be Gabriela Dabrowski and Leylah Fernandez; they might have been able to do it another way. But as a top-10 player Dabrowski (in theory), gets to choose her partner. And, of course, perhaps Bianca Andreescu has no interest in playing doubles.

Great news for the Kiwi-Canadian Erin Routliffe, as new Kiwi Lulu Sun (born in New Zealand, but representing Switzerland until recently) had a nice breakthrough of confidence at this Wimbledon.

Left out: top-10 US doubles player Nicole Melichar. She should have been able to not only quality, but also pick whomever she wanted to play doubles with. Apparently the USTA decided to put its big boots on the thing and Desirae Krawczyk, who is ranked lower but is pals with Danielle Collins, gets the nod even though they could have had a sixth player.

Melichar is the only top-10 doubles player other than Storm Hunter (recovering from a ruptured Achilles) or top-20 doubles player other than Vera Zvonareva (basically retired), Jelena Ostapenko (no legit partner option) and Carolyne Dolehide (didn’t make the cut, either), not to be there. Theoretically, Krawczyk and Dolehide, who play TOGETHER on tour, would have been a logical choice.

Not playing doubles amongst the top singles players: Iga Swiatek, Elena Rybakina, Zheng Qinwen, Elina Svitolina.

Back just in time for the Olympics: Elena Vesnina, Saisai Zheng,

Men’s doubles

– Fun doubles combos: Raonic and Auger-Aliassime, Evans and Murray, The Tsitsipas brothers, Sinner and Musetti and, of course, Alacaraz and Nadal.

– Lebanese team Benjamin Hassan (a German) and Hady Habib (from Texas) have a combined doubles ranking of … No. 698.

Among the top singles players not adding doubles: Novak Djokovic, Alexander Zverev, Casper Ruud, Holger Rune, Sebastian Baez and Jack Draper.

What about mixed?

The mixed doubles draw at the Olympics is only 16 teams, and the players have to already been nominated for other events.

So while the cutoff is tough, it’s also only four matches to win a medal.

Among the possibilities:

– Stefanos Tsitsipas and Maria Sakkari (GRE)

– Any number of American combinations

– Fernandez and Auger-Aliassime (even if interested) might not make the cut for Canada. But Gabriela Dabrowski and … either Auger-Aliassime or Raonic probably could.

– Iga Swiatek and Hubert Hurkacz

– Aussies Matt Ebden and Ellen Perez.

–Jasmine Paolini and … Sinner? Musetti? Vavassori?

– Cana-Kiwi Erin Routliffe, who is the No. 3 women’s doubles player in the world, can’t play mixed because no one from New Zealand was nominated on the men’s side.

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